Will Vinton is probably best known for his Claymation California Raisins, but he also made this incredibly strange movie with a seventeen person crew, which is an astounding achievement.
Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher — yes, all creations of Mark Twain — have snuck on board an airship that will take the real Mark Twain to meet Hailey’s Comet. Twain believes that because he was born the last time the comet came to Earth, he is fated to die when it comes back.
This has some basis in truth, as Twain said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet* in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: “Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”” Twain died a day after the comet flew by, living up to his words.
There’s also a devil side to Twain, the Mysterious Stranger, and this movie has often shown up in memes because of just how strange it is*.* It also has scenes from plenty of Twain’s works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Mysterious Stranger, “The Diaries of Adam and Eve (Letters from the Earth),” “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” and “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”
Not all children’s films are for children, as evidenced by this movie. While anyone in the family can enjoy this, those debating their mortality will get much from this wonderful creation, all made by human hands.
*The film — originally shot in live action black and white for reference, then animated in Claymation, was finished in 1984, but was not distributed until 1986 to commemorate another appearance by Hailey’s Comet.
**That segment was often deleted when this aired on TV, as it was so dark that it disturbed children.
You can watch this on Tubi.